Bali, Indonesia - Liberty Dive Resort - October - November 2014

Always the worst part -- the long and arduous trip to the other side of the world.  My flight schedule from Wisconsin to San Francisco was changed leaving me with nearly 11 hours of airport wait time.  These are the times when I'm very grateful for technology:  an iPAD, an iPOD, some people-watching, a few corridor walks, dinner and a glass of wine, and it's time to hunt for my travel companions.
We continue to fly with China Air.  The price is right, and we are treated well and fly comfortably.  Our flight departs at 1:00 in the morning.  Perhaps as an attempt to realign our body clocks, the first order of business is a meal.  I followed that with 3 oz. of red wine and an Ambien and slept peacefully until our descent into Taipei.  That trick didn't work on the way home, but it was a welcome treat on this leg of the trip.
No easy task finding our driver in Denpasar.
Once again we are staying at Liberty Dive Resort in Tulamben, Bali.  Three years ago during our stay, Liberty Resort was beginning its expansion project.  We returned to the project completed with fabulous results.   The resort has tripled in size, is beautiful, well-staffed, and well-run.  All of our creature needs were more than satisfied.  We treated ourselves to $10 massages at least every other day.
Sweet Bungalows; beautiful gardens
Massage tables overlooking the pool.
The dive operation is well-managed, and the dive guides are eager to please.  Yoman, our guide, was delightful and worked diligently to locate all the wonderful critters that we encountered.
Yoman and his motley crew!
November begins the rainy season in Bali, but we were blessed with sunshine each day, along with pleasant, high temperatures which dropped nicely towards dusk, and gentle breezes.  All of our dives were shore dives; no boats this trip.  The seas were calm for the most part; current generally mild.   We did take note that shore entries over slippery, large, uneven rocks (as we were burdened with weights, air tanks, fins, and photo equipment) are becoming a bit much as we approach the next decade of our lives.  Oh, we did fine.  No major wipe-outs or embarrassing crawls back to shore.  But it's tricky, even with our wonderful Yoman, who can balance his own equipment, us, and another's gear without blinking!
Early Morning Calm
Shore entries can be difficult with dive gear and cameras.
The surf picks up as the day progresses.
And even the younger folks struggle.
The muck diving was wonderful, as we've come to expect; and the creatures were ample, colorful, and entertaining.  Nudibranchs were everywhere and depositing egg ribbons for our enjoyment.  Mantis shrimp were flaunting large masses of eggs held tight to their bellies,  and a ribbon eel swam out of its burrow allowing us to see how it came by its name.  Well, some of us only got to see it on George's video, but it was still very cool. 
After our weeks of diving, we spent a few off-gassing days in Keliki and Ubud where we enjoyed the flavors of the Island, the Balinese culture, and the inviting Balinese people.  A village tour, beautiful, unaffected Balinese children,  a 5-hour Balinese cooking/dining experience  (not to be missed), purchases from a traditional Balinese Art School, hours of pool floating, and decadent massages.
Trust me, it's a lot harder than it looks to make a seasoning
paste from raw vegetables and spices!
Cooking is done in the morning, and the meal is served 
throughout the day.
Our ever-smiling teachers were patient and supportive as we made our bungling attempts to wrap tofu into palm-leaf envelopes for grilling.
George is now the proud owner of two lovely pieces of
Traditional Balinese Art.
Skin is carefully protected from the sun during long days in
the rice paddies.
Spines are straight, and necks are strong and erect from carrying heavy loads atop the head.
      The Temple was bustling with activity as preparations were made for a religious ceremony.
And warm embraces were shared with others far from home.
And the children: the beautiful children..........................  
They have ready smiles and a surprisingly serene nature, with no evidence of disorders of attention. Their playground is the beach, the ocean, the fields; their toys the pebbles, palms and sand.  A sense of calm, peacefulness, and joy seems to surround them.
So, there you have it.  Another memorable trip; perfect, except for the absence of our third Gill-Sister, Carolyn.

Next time................

I don't know why, I just love this picture.

November 2014

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